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Red Team vs Blue Team in Cyber Security: Check Differences

05th Sep, 2023
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    Red Team vs Blue Team in Cyber Security: Check Differences

    Cyber attack seems to be increasing at a high rate, and for this, a company has to secure their details and information from theft and corruption. To do things related to cyber security like finding and solving the vulnerability an organization keeps Red Team and Blue Team. Red Team vs Blue Team is one of the important parts of any company and plays an important role in defending the organization from cyberattacks that can leak organization’s crucial data like user’s sensitive data, trade data or secret business communication. Check the best Hacking course to stay updated on the latest hacking trends. 

    Blue Team vs Red Team

    Check the major differences between team red vs team blue:

    Blue TeamRed Team
    ActivitiesBlue team defends against attack and respond to it.Red Team plays a role of attacker by finding and exploiting vulnerabilities.
    Main Aim
    Main practice of blue team is protecting the infrastructure and monitoring.Main practice is ethical hacking and Penetration Testing.
    SkillsUses skills like digital forensics, secure attack areas and protect the organization’s infrastructure.Use methods like Social Engineering, vulnerability exploit, etc.
    ToolsOperational Security (protects the data from getting into the wrong hand).Black box Testing (Not aware about internal working).
    ExerciseBlue team contains digital forensics.Red team contains web App scanning.
    ActivitiesBlue team will control the damage.Red team will exploit the vulnerability

    1. Area of Difference

    First, the common part between blue team and red team is both of their intentions are to improve organization’s security. Red team works on offensive part means of finding and reporting the vulnerability. Blue team works on defensive part, they defend and make organization’s security stronger.

    2. Red Teams

    Red team are hired by any organization or contacted the company which provides red team. Red teaming is important because they inform or report the vulnerability to the organization before any malicious attacker could exploit it.

    3. Blue Teams

    Blue team are hired by the company. Blue team’s important role is to analyze and monitor the data. So, if the blue team saw any unusual activities, they can take preventive measure to protect the organization. 

    4. Defensive vs Offensive

    Here both are important because being offensive will help to figure out the weakness and lack in the organization’s network and as for defensive they will work to make security system of the organization as secure as they can. 

    5. Capabilities

    A red teamer must have deep knowledge of the all the computer protocols and system, vulnerabilities, etc. Attacker like thinking is also important. Whereas blue teamer must have capabilities of critical thinking, understanding of SIEM tools, organization’s infrastructure, etc. 

    6. Scope and Objective

    Red teaming is a full-scope attack to measure how well your network, application, people (employee), physical security controls or hardware can withstand with the real time attack. Their main objective is to find the weakness and report it back to the organization.

    Blue teaming is a full scope defence and its main motive is to identify the risks and security threats in the organization’s environment as soon as they can.

    7. Measure Used

    Measure used by red team are social engineering, information gathering, exploitation, exploit vulnerability, etc. Measure used by the blue team are SIEM tools for real time monitoring and alerting, updating the security policies, defending the organization from external as well as internal attack. 

    8. Success Parameters

    Red Team 

    • Must have clear objectives  
    • Use right tools 
    • Focus on key issues  
    • Support Team 

    Blue Team 

    • Use only those tools which team can master and use efficiently  
    • Use a cybersecurity framework 
    • Should be aware about the assets that needed to be protected.

    What is Red Team?

    Red team is especially for offensive security in cyber security, it contains cyber security professionals. They have member like ethical hackers, who exploits the system’s security in an objective manner to find its weakness.

    Red team members utilize all the possible ways or we can say techniques to exploit any system, the person who is managing the system, policies, etc. to gain unauthorized access to organization’s assets. After all these thorough examinations they prepare the recommendation and plans to strengthen the organization's security system.

    How Does a Red Team work?

    First the organization sets goals for red team on which they have to do the exercise. Planning is an important factor in red teaming. It is a simulation-based attack that intends to get access of specific information. So, after getting the goals they plan the whole scenario. 

    Then the red teamers will start finding and exploiting all the possible vulnerabilities on the system to gain unauthorized of the targeted system. The red team will escalate the vulnerability to see until which limit they can extend it if they find any vulnerability.

    After this the red team will make a report and analysis report for the defence security team (blue team) addressing the steps to recuperate and patch the vulnerability they addressed during their search. The cyber criminals will exploit number of small vulnerabilities and chain them up and can make a big impact on organization’s system and reputation.

    What is Blue Team?

    If red team is for offense, then blue team is for defence in cyber security. Security professionals are there in blue team who have the whole view of the organization. They are there to protect the organization’s assets from any threat and attack. They know the requirements and the business objectives according to that they build up and strengthen the security so no intruder can invade the network or the system and its firewall to get access to organization’s assets.

    How does Blue Team Work?

    The first thing a blue team do is gather the data and documents to see that what is needed to protected and have the requirement of risk assessment. Blue team basically perform SOC (Security Operation Centre) functions and SIEM (Security Information and Event Management), packet capture, packet analysis, threat detection and solving (threat intelligence), etc and it is also their job to make the employees aware about the risk and teach them the effect and mitigation.

    For e.g., educate them about social engineering. Senior management involvement is very much important because they only know and decided which risk should be accepted or needs implementation of mitigating controls. It is also being decides according to the business plan and cost-benefits of business.

    What is the Difference Between Red Team and Blue Team?

    First of all, both are required and plays a vital role to make a system or network secure because one is for the offense (red team), to find the risk and threats other is for defence (blue team) to do the risk assessment and make system or network secure from external threat and for internal threat they educate their employees. 

    1. Red Team vs Blue Team: Exercise

    “Red Team exercise differs from penetration testing”, this means that they do not focus on any single network or system rather than that they exploit multiple systems and important assets of an organization. They think and pretend to be an attacker whose intention is to exploit. It is best practice not to reveal the tactics of red team to blue team means the blue team should not have a clue that what is going to happen because they try to keep the scenario realistic as possible as they can. 

    Blue Team exercise becomes controlled attack simulation which test the capabilities to detect a threat or breach, block it and then mitigate it as soon as possible. During the blue team exercise the red team will start attacking the system, applications running on the network, exploiting devices connected to the network like laptop, phone, desktop, etc. While the red team is attacking, the job role of blue team is to respond to the attack and perform the necessary measures to isolate infected sectors.  

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    2. Red Team vs Blue Team: Job Titles with Salary

    Requirements of cyber security professionals are increasing day by day. So as for red team and blue team too. Big organizations are ready to invest in the cyber security effort because the attacks are increasing vastly. They are also paying cyber security professionals’ good amount salary.  

    Red Team consists of the following Job titles

    1. Red Team Operational Lead

    The work of red team operational lead is to establish the processes and program which will get investigated for their cyber security efforts and they can use their expertise in executing all their methods. The average salary of RED Team Lead in U.S. is $54,616. In India the average salary for red team lead is 17.25 Lakh rupees per year.

    2. IT Security

    The role of an IT security is to do a penetration test on the organization’s system or network and report potential vulnerability to the organization so that they can fix that vulnerability and prevent network form external attacks. One of IT security's major roles is to develop new counter measures. The average salary of IT Security in U.S. is $70,995 per year. In India, the average salary of IT Security is 8,11,399 per year.

    3. Cyber Red Team Operator

    The main focus of cyber red team operator is to focus on driving technical solutions, plan and execute offensive tests. Cyber red team operator also helps operation centre to improve cyber threat or attack detection. Cyber red team operator’s average salary in U.S. is $111,150 per year. In India the average salary of cyber red team operator is 8,65,008 per year.

    Blue consists of following Job titles 

    1. Incident Response Manager

    Incident manger have all the authority and responsibility during any incident or attack. The incident response manager coordinate everybody in the IT team. They decide the severity of any incident, collect information regarding to the incidents from tech lead and SME (Subject Matter Expert), make decisions and plan to tackle the incident, keeping the track on decisions. The salary of incident response manager in U.S. ranges from $53,580 per year to $169,940 per year. In India the average salary of Incident Response Manager ranges from 3.5 Lakh rupees per year to 10.5 Lakh rupees per year.

    2. Cyber Security Engineer

    Cyber security engineer helps to design and protect network or system of any organization from any cyber threats. Some of the responsibilities of cyber security engineer are troubleshooting the problems occur in the network or system of the organization, monitoring the traffic of the network, upgrade the security measure. The average salary of cyber security engineer in U.S. is $98,928 per year. In India the average salary of cyber security engineer is 6 Lakh rupees per year.

    3. Cyber Security Analyst

    From the name we can understand that cyber security analyst does analysis. The major role of cyber security analyst is to analyse or monitor the network traffic, investigate data breaches, setting up the security measure like firewalls, data encryption, operating software to protect system, fix detected vulnerability to maintain security. The average salary of cyber security analyst in U.S. is $103,590 per year. In India the average salary of cyber security analyst is 5 Lakh rupees per year.

    Red Team versus Blue Team: Techniques

    Red Team Techniques

    Red team perform various steps while assessment which includes following attacks.

    1. Gathering publicly available information from which public assets can be accessed. 
    2. Identifying the leaked password of existing or former employees can be most time found in many database dump websites like Pastebin. 
    3. OSINT gathering (Open-Source Intelligence)
    4.  Identify vulnerable products or applications.

    Blue Team Techniques

    Blue team perform various steps while assessment which includes following attacks:

    1. Performing digital analysis
    2. Configure and monitor security software of whole organization’s environment. 
    3. Installing and setting up fundamentals like antivirus, antimalware, firewall which must be regularly get reviewed and if there is any need of update it should be updated as soon as possible.
    4. Segmenting the network to keep the access limited to specific departments or zones.

    Red Teaming vs Blue Teaming: Skills and Tools

    Red Team Skills and Tools

    The skillset for red team is as follows:

    • Full understanding of working of computer protocols, network, security techniques and tools used for performing it. 
    • Strong software development skills.
    • Social Engineering is a key skill to manipulate the team member to make them share the credentials or information. 
    • Must have experience in penetration testing.

    The tools which can be used by red team is as follows:

    • For reconnaissance tools used are NMAP (Network Mapping), Nikto, Maltego, Shodan, Wireshark. 
    •  Now for weaponization means using a tool to attack any target. The tools which can be used are Metasploit. 
    • Then it’s the delivery part and the original execution starts of an attack. Tools used are Hashcat (world’s fastest password cracker), BeFF, King Phisher (for phishing).
    • When we get access to the system or network it is time to move up means being a root user, this process is called privilege escalation. The tools used are BeRoot, PowerUp, BloddHound.

    Blue Team Skills and Tools

    The skillset required for blue team are as follows:

    • Must have deep and clear knowledge of all the technical and non-technical security approach.
    • Threat profiling and Analysis is one of the utmost works of blue team. Threat profile means it contains all detailed description of the most the threats that is known or can attack the organization.
    • One should have understanding and usage of SIEM (Security Information Event Management) tool. SIEM tool provides real time analysis log generated by network hardware and applications.
    • A detailed oriented mind is a must in blue team because this mindset is like not leave any gap in the organization’s security.

    The tools used in blue team are as follows: 

    • SIEM – It is very helpful for real time analysis of the network hardware and applications.
    • Kippo – It is designed to detect and log (store) brute-force attack also the whole shell history the attacker had performed.
    • Honeypot – It is like a decoy computer for malicious attacker who tries to attack computer networks. Once the attacker catches the bait the honeypot will allow the administrator to collect all the information like identity of the attacker, type of attack, etc.
    • Artillery – It is a honeypot as well as monitoring and alerting tool system. You can also configure that if anyone tries to connect to a specific port artillery will blacklist that user.

    Red Team vs Blue Team: Roles and Responsibilities

    Red Team

    The red team plays offensive role. The roles of red team consist of:

    • Penetration testing
    • Web and mobile application penetration testing (iOS/Android).
    • If possible, trying to escalate small vulnerability and chain them up for bigger impact.

    The main responsibility of red team is to provide feedback to the company based on their assessment.

    Blue Team 

     The blue team plays defensive role. The role of blue team consists of:

    • To protect the organization’s important data from attacker.
    • They have to keep the security policies up to date and gathering data, etc.
    • Carry our risk assessment, analyze network traffic.

    The main responsibility of blue team is to make the security system as stronger as they can.

    Red Team vs Blue Team: Certification

    Red Team

    Some of the best certification for red team are as follows:

    • eJPT (eLearnSecurity Junior Penetration Tester)
    • Certified Red Team Professional
    • CompTIA Pentest+
    • OSCP (Offensive Security Certified Professional)

    Blue Team

    Some of the best certifications for blue team are as follows:

    Benefits of Red Team and Blue Team Approach

    Red team and blue team both of them combines their approach and result to make security better. These two teams try to mimic a real attack from which the following benefits are obtained:

    1. Find loop holes or vulnerability.
    2. Help to strengthen organization’s network.
    3. Raise and spread security awareness and knowledge among other staff.
    4. Develop a plan which will be proceeded when any incident occurs.
    5. More the knowledge of vulnerability easier to find and mitigate.

    How Do Red and Blue Teams Work Together?

    Red and blue team should keep communicating with each other, it is an important factor. The red team should have knowledge of latest threats or vulnerability so they can advise blue team on prevention techniques. Likewise, blue team will do the same, they will share the latest technologies finding with red team to improve security.

    The thing these team tries to do is mimic any cybersecurity incident, but blue team will not be aware about it except blue team’s lead. After the simulation red and blue both teams will discuss and share their information during the mitigation of attack.

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    Red and blue team both are very much important for any organization to test their organization’s network and spread awareness in staff that what should be done when cybersecurity incident occurs. An organization should hire a red team to test their organization’s network. Both teams have their own roles to perform, but communication or exchange of report should be done between these two teams. If you wish to learn and understand more about hacking, you must go for KnowledgeHut best Hacking course.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1Which team is better blue or red?

    Both team plays a vital role. Red team will be offensive and blue team will be defensive.

    2What is blue team analysis?

    Blue team analysis means analysing traffic or the activities taking place on the network.

    3What is red team test?

    Red team test means testing any organization’s network and tries to bypass the security to find vulnerabilities and loop holes.

    4What is difference between pen test and red team?

    Pen test is to find vulnerability in a computer’s asset while red teaming is a simulated attack aims to get access of a specific information.


    Yash Jaiswar


    Yash Jaiswar is a Cyber Security enthusiast with an experience of 2+ years and an independent bug hunter. He likes to write write-ups and blogs. He is also a CTF (Capture The Flag) player and on TryHackMe he is in Top 2%. He is also a website developer. His hobby is drawing, reading books and being on his laptop.

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